By Elizabeth Prata
On Sundays I usually post a theological word with its definition, then an explanation, and use it in a verse. I also use a picture to represent the concept. This is my effort to maintain a theological literacy among the brethren and between generations, something I believe is critical. We have to know what we believe, why, and know the words to express it. Words like Justification, Immanence, and Perspicuity have all been a Sunday Word of the Week.
Similarly, when we discuss other words representing the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, peace, and joy, we think we know what they mean, but often times these culturally embedded words have a totally different flavor when used from a biblical context. It is true of the words pertaining to the Fruit of the Spirit. Even these ‘simpler’ biblical words are misunderstood.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
What does ‘peace’ mean? I hear people saying in their decision-making, “I have a peace about it.” Is Galatians talking about that kind of peace? Or, is it the peace that comes after a war or a struggle with someone?
The Greek word as it’s used in the verse is (they think) from eiro. It means in this verse, a harmony and an accord.
Once we possess the Spirit, we are no longer at enmity against the Lord. (Ephesians 2:16). We have peace with Him since we are no longer rebelling against Him. We have relational peace. Strong’s defines it partly as:
According to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoerer sort that is”: Romans 8:6; namely, is used of those who, assured of salvation, tranquilly await the return of Christ and the transformation of all things which will accompany that event,
John Gill Comments on the two kinds of peace, peace with God and peace with each other, on the Gal 5:22 verse,
which is another fruit of the Spirit: and designs peace with God in a man’s own conscience, produced there by the Spirit of God, in consequence of peace being made by the blood of Christ; and that through the application of the blood of Christ for pardon, and of his righteousness for justification to the soul of a sensible sinner by the blessed Spirit, the effect of which is peace, quietness, and tranquillity of mind; also peace with men, with the saints, and with all others; for such who are under a work of the Spirit of God, and are influenced and led by him, seek after the things which make for peace and edification among the brethren, and are desirous if possible to live peaceably with all men: hence appears another grace in them,
But beyond that, as the verse in John 13:34-35 says,
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
We cannot have peace with one another if we are feeling less than loving.
What was “new” about this commandment? Love wasn’t new, it is in the Ten Commandments. What was new was the depth and the extent of the love Jesus commanded His people to do. Jesus loved His own to the end, fully and consistently and completely. He gave the sop to Judas. Giving the morsel to someone at a dinner was a manner and custom in Israelite banquets. The host showed utmost respect and love to a person, by personally handing him a morsel, sometimes even placing it in the recipient’s mouth himself. Judas was to betray Jesus in mere hours, but Jesus still loved Judas to the end. He gave him the sop. THAT is the new kind of love.
The fruit of the Spirit is all one fruit. It isn’t that we work on peace one week and then patience the next… The first fruit mentioned is love. ALL other fruit stem from this one fruit. If we are loving we will be patient, we will be joyful, we will be gentle, we will employ self-control, and so on. Jesus was at peace relationally with Judas the Betrayer and demonstrated that peace through His loving act of giving the morsel.
Peace with one another is to be sought because we love.
Here is a wonderful 45 minute sermon by Harry Walls at Grace Community Church about the kind of love Jesus expects from us.
Connecting with Quality Love by Harry Walls
Here is an article about Peace from Compelling Truth:
In What Way is Peace a Fruit of the Spirit?